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you and me and you and me

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"I am in You. You are in Me.  There is no distance or distinction."  --  Sri Sathya Baba

I'm getting ready for Looptopia with a collection of hats that join one to another.  One for you and one for me.  Depending on who is wearing which hat, you are either "you" or perhaps you are "me." 

The children at my after school program gave it a trial run.  They loved trying to stay connected and move as one.  As one child put it - "If you are 'you' you are a 'me'."  Out of the mouth of an 8 year old.  Who said philosophers were old and stodgy?


bread

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"... gifts, goods, a basket
of bread that hurts
my shoulders but closes me
in fragrance. I can
eat as I go."

-- Denise Levertov

The recipe cautioned against the temptation to cut into fresh bread prior to cooling.  I waited the eternity of 5 minutes before I succumbed.  That first bite was sublime!  Steam billowed around my fingertips.  Lip smacking delicious!  A crunchy crust with a flavorful chewy interior.  My daughter the Baker was envious.  I managed to make a beautiful baguette all on my own.

My father has turned me into a bread nut.  Two weeks ago I received a package of King Arthur flour, a baguette pan and his own special sourdough starter (plus a few of his sourdough loaves as incentive).  I haven't tried the sourdough starter as the process is intimidating, but I did try out the baguette recipe in this cook book.  It took some time.  The poolish, a flour, yeast and water concoction, takes 12 hours to develop.  This is where the magic happens.  Have you ever had a baguette that was doughy and tasted of flour?  They used rapid rise yeast and less than 2 hours of rising.  The poolish makes all the difference.  More flour, yeast and water, a dash of salt, some kneading, a few more risings et voila - yummy heaven!

My dogs were going nuts as the bread was baking.  They sat in front of the oven with noses just inches from the door.  As the bread cooled, Monster Pup danced on two feet in hopes of gaining my favor.  What is it with dogs and bread?  Then again, I have yet to understand how they know I am taking cheese out of the refrigerator.  I take out a cucumber, nothing.  I take out some cheese and zooooom! there they are.   Now I can't make toast without the Worshipful Order at my feet. 


masterpiece

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"Every child is an artist.  The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up."  -- Pablo Picasso

The masterpiece is by my nephew.   Children's art is amazing in both its simplicity and intensity.  As is typical of a 6 year old, his colors are bright and the shapes are bold, but what I love is his sense of depth and scale.  Is the bird flying above the flowers near the frowning sun or is it walking along them taking in their delightful fragrance?   And look carefully, there is a blue hummingbird zooming in on the sweet nectar of that red flower.  Like the hummingbirds dancing in my summer garden, its a blur almost unseen.  My nephew may have won the honor of seeing his work at a district art fair, but what makes me most proud is seeing how much of his heart is in what he made. 


working vacation

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"This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by nature for herself..." 
    --- William Shakespeare

A working vacation.  I took time off from my preparations for Looptopia for an escape north into Wisconsin.  Despite the storms, the scenery as you can see was lovely.  I needed to get out of the city and the narrow confines of my routine. 

I was there to work with Rick, a maestro of welding.  C_lindsay_obermeyer_rick_welding
  I redesigned my throne for Lawn Nation to have a copper back and arm rests and as I haven't done welding in over 20 years, I had to ask a pro.  I was fascinated.  He made it look so easy.  There weren't the huge tanks with which I had learned, just a small torch, welding wax, silver / lead welding wire and copper tubes. 

His pal Lucky did the wood work.  I couldn't believe it.  Between the two of them, the whole thing was made in under 3 hours.  It goes to show you what can be done with the proper tools and some know-how.
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Afterward Rick and Carol Lou treated me to lunch at the Lakeside Diner.  Aahhh, a beer, some fettucine, good scenery and lots of conversation, I was indeed on vacation.


allergies

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"I decided that if I could paint that flower in a huge scale, you could not ignore its beauty." -- Georgia O'Keefe

As an avid gardener and one allergic to pollen, I couldn't resist embroidering an image of a histamine cell made pink and green for the colors of my favorite blossoms, peonies.   These days, as everything pops up and hearkens of lazy summer days to come, even my dogs are sneezing. 

Josie, the empress papillon, perfumes her fur with a role on the lavender bush which she then follows with a not-so-dainty "achoo."  All 4 pounds of her shakes with the force.  It's a sign of another overactive histamine at work.  She hasn't figured out the cause and effect reaction.  Why lavender and not lemon balm or sage, I don't know, but every morning this week it has been the same.  Roll, sneeze, shake, and look perplexed. 

Photo by Sanders Visual Images.


mantra

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"Tell me how many beads there are
In a silver chain
Of evening rain,
Unravelled from the tumbling main,
And threading the eye of a yellow star:—
So many times do I love again."
--  Thomas Lovell Beddoes

Take a deep breath.  Exhale slowly.  Focus on each breath.   Oooone.  Twooooo.  Threeee......

I recite this mantra morning, noon, and night.   It is my vain attempt at keeping the panic attacks from settling into the bones.  So much to do in such a short time!  I need some sleep, but I leave you with another new bead embroidery titled "Coursing."

Photo by Sanders Visual Images


bede prayer

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By blood we live, the hot, the cold,
To ravage and redeem the world:
There is no bloodless myth will hold.
  --  Geoffery Hill

More new work to share.  Red Blood is part of my "Chirurgi" series and only my second foray into combining bead embroidery with appliqué.   The piece is small, just 10" in diameter framed.  The small format allows me to quickly work out ideas.  Piece by piece I am creating an installation that I one day hope to use in filling the walls of a museum gallery.   

Beads have long fascinated me -their history, their multiple uses, and the dazzle of light refracting from them.  The word bead originates from the Old English word "bede" which means prayer.  These days nano beads are being used to deliver chemotherapy treatments directly to cancer cells.  These luscious bits of embellishment I construct into cell structures, fascinated by the patterns I view in the microscope, and deliver to the viewer as my own form of prayer against further ill health in myself and others.

Photo: Sanders Visual Images


genetic bondage

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"Art is much less important than life, but what a poor life without it."  --  Robert Motherwell

I need to be back in the studio knitting for my upcoming performance, but wanted to share my latest piece with you. 

Photo by Sanders Visual Images


lawn nation

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"A lawn is nature under totalitarian rule."  --  Michael Pollan

My first attempt at mosaic is lovely.  I was at my friend's studio and felt like a little kid first learning to ride a bike.  A few rough starts, but exhilarating.  It is a test run for the throne I am constructing for Lawn Nation.  I like the challenge of learning a new technique.  What is particularly exciting is the similarity between mosaic and bead embroidery.  So many possibilities to explore!

Lawn Nation has me thinking about more than new art.  Yesterday I dug out another 5' of sod.  At the rate I am going it won't be long before all lawn is eradicated from my property.   I love to garden, but am loathe to mow, water and fertilize a lawn.  It's just too fussy and a waste of local resources.  I prefer my flower beds of lavenders, roses, hostas, and hydrangeas.  The hostas love the shade and grow so big there is little weeding to be done.  The hidcote lavenders are fuss free requiring nothing more than a weekly watering, some mulch, and a yearly pruning.  A friend once referred to hydrangeas as "granny weeds."  She was referring to both their hardy nature and favor in gardens of years past.  I have several and love them all.  The roses require the most of my attention, but I am not out to grow perfection.  I just want dashes of bright color.   What lawn remains is for the delight of my dogs, well, and a place to picnic. 


fuzzy photos

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"You don't take a photograph, you make it."  -- Ansel Adams

Last night was the opening of my exhibition at the Catholic Theological Union.  Attendance was steady despite the rain.  Three of the four artists involved were there and gave a short talk on their work.  I was amazed to see such disparate styles come together so harmoniously, but that was the theme - One Breath / One World. 

I received perhaps one of the best compliments to date.   The viewer's comment is hard to relate as it was accompanied by hand gestures and other forms of body language, but suffice to say that he felt that my piece "Friends" is powerful and radiates a strong, positive energy.  I am pleased. 

There were also several of the typical, goofy, and well meaning comments such as, "How much would it cost for me to have one of those in my size?"  Or another, "Did you knit the whole thing....?!"  I frequently hear such comments, but I'm very happy to know that one person felt moved to the point of speechlessness. 

"Friends" has yet to be photographed for my records.  There is one copy of it in a catalog for the exhibition held several years ago at Bradley University called the "Feminine Eye."  But other than that, there are only my dark and slightly fuzzy images taken with my little point-and-shoot camera.  The camera is fine for outdoor shooting, but I find it lacking for anything indoors.   The light is never right even with a flash. 

I need to invest in a higher quality camera and learn how to use it.  Any suggestions on digital camera models and websites to consider?